Pharmacy owners can proceed with vaccinating patients who have already scheduled their flu vaccination appointments for September, NHS England has said. However, as announced earlier, the official rollout of the vaccination service will commence from October.
Pharmacies will receive compensation for conducting appointments in the upcoming month, NHSE stated in a letter addressed to systems, community pharmacies, and general practices.
“Payment for vaccinations will ordinarily only be made following the service commencement date. However, we understand that some firm commitments and appointments have already been made, so where this is the case and the patient wishes to receive flu vaccination in September, NHS England will permit payment claims to be submitted,” NHSE said.
Care home residents and staff will be eligible for the vaccine starting Oct. 2, while all other patients will commence receiving their vaccinations on Oct 7.
This news is a significant relief for pharmacy owners, as they won’t have to reschedule appointments due to NHSE’s one-month service delay.
“While this isn’t precisely the outcome we had hoped for – a September full-service launch had been our preference, consistent with past practices – we are gratified and relieved that both Ministers and the NHS have acknowledged the need for practicality,” said Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at CPE. “It’s agreed that pharmacies with September vaccination plans can proceed as intended.”
“Pharmacy owners will find relief in this news, and both they and their patients are poised to gain from the prevented disruption that could have held notable implications for many businesses,” Buxton added.
CPE urged pharmacy owners to review their current appointments, identifying patients who scheduled vaccinations prior to NHSE’s announcement, and then proceed to update their bookings accordingly.
Meanwhile, the NHS’s decision to halt the provision of free vaccinations for all, a program initially introduced in 2020, results in approximately 12 million British citizens not being eligible for free flu vaccinations and Covid-19 boosters during the upcoming winter.